How to take care of your mental health after the Christchurch attacks

The world was saddened and distressed to learn of the shocking Christchurch mosque attacks on Friday, which claimed the lives of 50 people and injured nearly as many. Since then we’ve heard hear...

Richard Bryant, Professor & Director of Traumatic Stress Clinic, UNSW - avatar Richard Bryant, Professor & Director of Traumatic Stress Clinic, UNSW

Christchurch attacks provide a new ethics lesson for professional media

The difference in the Christchurch attacks is that propaganda supplied by the perpetrator was available to the professional media, even as the story was breaking.Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-N...

Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne - avatar Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne

Autonomous transport will shape our cities' future – best get on the right path early

Cities have a choice of autonomous vehicle futures: cars or mass transit vehicles. Which one we adopt is likely to determine how people-friendly our cities are.SueBeDoo888/ShutterstockA unique opport...

Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University - avatar Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University

What parents need to know about the signs of child sexual abuse

Significant changes in your child's behaviour could signal they are being sexually abused.from shutterstock.comRecent events, including the conviction and sentencing of George Pell for sexually abusin...

Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice  |  Co-leader of the Sexual Violence and Research Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast - avatar Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice | Co-leader of the Sexual Violence and Research Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast

Curious Kids: what makes an echo?

Do you think you could make an echo at Echo Point in Katoomba?Flickr/Amanda Slater, CC BYCurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to ...

Noel Hanna, Leading Education Professional (Physics), UNSW - avatar Noel Hanna, Leading Education Professional (Physics), UNSW

Super power: why the future of Australian capitalism is now in Greg Combet's hands

Greg Combet wants to use his super power to free business from being hostage to short-term share-price and profit measures.ShutterstockRight now Greg Combet is arguably the most powerful man in Austra...

Danny Davis, Executive Director, Australian Institute of Performance Sciences, and researcher at, La Trobe University - avatar Danny Davis, Executive Director, Australian Institute of Performance Sciences, and researcher at, La Trobe University

Slimmed-down migration program has regional focus

The government has announced a reduced annual cap on migration of 160,000 for each of the next four years, as well as measures to stream a greater proportion of migrants to regional areas and boost th...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Anxieties over livestreams can help us design better Facebook and YouTube content moderation

Livestream on Facebook isn't just a tool for sharing violence – it has many popular social and political uses. glen carrie / unsplash, CC BYAs families in Christchurch bury their loved ones foll...

Andrew Quodling, PhD candidate researching governance of social media platforms, Queensland University of Technology - avatar Andrew Quodling, PhD candidate researching governance of social media platforms, Queensland University of Technology

We did a breakthrough 'speed test' in quantum tunnelling, and here's why that's exciting

Future technologies will exploit today's advances in our understanding of the quantum world.Shutterstock/PopTika When you deal with things at the quantum scale, where things are very small, the world ...

U. Satya Sainadh, Postdoctoral researcher, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology - avatar U. Satya Sainadh, Postdoctoral researcher, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Politicians suing for defamation is usually a bad idea: here's why

There are better ways for politicians to address defamation concerns than through the courts.AAP/Ellen SmithWhen The Project host Waleed Aly began his editorial in the wake of the Christchurch massacr...

Michael Douglas, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Western Australia - avatar Michael Douglas, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Western Australia

Births, deaths and rituals: a revamped Ten Days on the Island explores Tasmania's past and present

Youth dance troupe Stompin performed their thought-provoking work Nowhere as part of this year's Ten Days on the Island.Jacob Collings, Lusy ProductionsThis year marks the tenth biennial Tasmanian Art...

Asher Warren, Lecturer, University of Tasmania - avatar Asher Warren, Lecturer, University of Tasmania

A guide for parents and teachers: what to do if your teenager watches violent footage

The world is reeling in the aftermath of the horrific shootings in Christchurch. The attack has also raised a number of side issues, including the ethics of broadcasting the live stream of the attack...

Rachael Sharman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of the Sunshine Coast - avatar Rachael Sharman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of the Sunshine Coast

As home care packages become big business, older people are not getting the personalised support they need

Many older Australians prefer to stay at home than enter residential aged care – but the process of securing home care is riddled with complexities.From shutterstock.comThe Royal Commission into...

Lyn Phillipson, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Development Fellow, University of Wollongong - avatar Lyn Phillipson, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Development Fellow, University of Wollongong

Two ways to fund NSW election promises as property prices crash

Previous NSW election promises were easily funded. Not so this time.ShutterstockState elections are always about spending promises, but this time not much is being said about how they will be funded.L...

Gareth Bryant, Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney - avatar Gareth Bryant, Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney

‘Rape Day’: A new video game glorifying sexual assault raises questions about regulation

nhungboon/ShutterstockA graphic new video game called Rape Day, set to launch in April, triggered a swift and widespread public outcry.Created by an independent developer, Rape Day is a set in a zombi...

Dr Marika Guggisberg, Research and Teaching Academic in Domestic and Family Violence, CQUniversity Australia - avatar Dr Marika Guggisberg, Research and Teaching Academic in Domestic and Family Violence, CQUniversity Australia

Curious Kids: why do we have two kidneys when we can live with only one?

Right now, your kidneys are getting rid of all things your body does not need. They do this by 'cleaning' your blood. ShutterstockCurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you&rsqu...

Brooke Huuskes, Lecturer in Human Anatomy, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology, La Trobe University - avatar Brooke Huuskes, Lecturer in Human Anatomy, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology, La Trobe University

Would you like to grow old at home? Why we’re struggling to meet demand for subsidised home care

In December, more than 127,000 Australians were waiting for a home care package.From shutterstock.comThe Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is this week turning its focus to aged care ...

Michael Woods, Professor of Health Economics, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Michael Woods, Professor of Health Economics, University of Technology Sydney

We need a legally binding treaty to make plastic pollution history

The world urgently needs to move past plastic. Veronika MedunaA powerful marriage between the fossil fuel and plastic industries threatens to exacerbate the global plastic pollution crisis. The Center...

Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer, Massey University - avatar Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer, Massey University

White nationalism, born in the USA, is now a global terror threat

The recent massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand is the latest confirmation that white supremacy is a danger to democratic societies across the globe.Despite Pr...

Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton - avatar Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton

Super power: why the future of Australian capitalism is now in Greg Combet's hands

Greg Combet wants to use his super power to free business from being hostage to short-term share-price and profit measures.ShutterstockRight now Greg Combet is arguably the most powerful man in Austra...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

Does most of your paycheck go to rent? That may be hurting your health

Families that spend more on housing may have less to spend on their health.Tero Vesalainen/shutterstock.comNew data on health across the U.S. shows that high housing costs are harming Americans’...

Jessica Owens-Young, Assistant Professor of Health Studies, American University - avatar Jessica Owens-Young, Assistant Professor of Health Studies, American University

The politics of fear: How it manipulates us to tribalism

The cruel murder of 50 people in New Zealand was another tragic reminder of how humans are capable of heartlessly killing their own kind just based on what they believe, how they worship, and what rac...

Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University - avatar Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University

What is the significance of Friday prayers in Islam?

Muslims praying in a Chicago mosque following the shooting in New Zealand, on Friday, March 15.AP Photo/Noreen NasirFollowing the terror attack on two New Zealand mosques last week, many Muslim commun...

Rose S. Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University - avatar Rose S. Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University

imageAunty Gayle, a portrait from Unfinished Business, a photographic essay by Belinda Mason, for a United Nations exhibition in Geneva.Belinda Mason/Unfinished Business, Author provided

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD), December 3, is important for commemorating the successes and efforts of the disability rights movement. The theme this year is Sustainable Development.

Along with other Indigenous peoples worldwide, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have much to celebrate. At the same time, the Australian disability services sector is undergoing its most significant reform since the Disability Services Act 1986. The inception of the National Disability Insurance Scheme has been justifiably described as the biggest public policy reform since the introduction of Medicare in the 1980s.

While many challenges remain, we do have reasons to celebrate.

We have improved our understanding

In public policy, knowing the size and scale of the challenge is often the first step to finding sustainable solutions. Australia has improved on the reporting of disability within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over the last few years.

After significant lobbying, Australia is now one of the few countries to collect information on disability in the census. This is an important resource for Australians. The Census is often the only source of data available at the scale we need.

Census data can also be used at the national level for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations to advocate for change.

So what does the data say? Well, the following figure from work undertaken by one of us shows a clear association between age and the likelihood of reporting a profound or severe disability.

imageCAEPR Indigenous Population Project 2011 Census Paper 6: Disability, Author provided

For both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, the rate is low and relatively stable for age groups from 0–34 years. For the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, the proportion with a profound or severe disability starts to increase from 35–39 years. By 65 and above, more than a quarter of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population have such a disability.

For the non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, the rate of profound or severe disability starts to increase from the mid-30s, but the substantial increase does not occur until the ages of 60–64.

Census data can also be used to dispel myths about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We can see in the figure below, for example, that the high rate of disability is not solely because they are more likely to live in remote parts of the country.

imageCAEPR Indigenous Population Project 2011 Census Paper 6: Disability, Author provided

Here, we look at the ratio of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population to non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population rates of profound/severe disability in large urban centres (those with a population of 100,000 or more). Even in Australia’s largest urban centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are more likely to report a disability than their non-Indigenous counterparts. This is so for every age group.

However, the disparity is greatest between the ages of 20 and 64. This data can be used to target our policy response.

Another important finding from the data is the role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers continue to play. No doubt this can sometimes take a heavy toll, but this caring work needs to be celebrated.

Statistics are important, but they are not enough. On this IDPWD, we can go beyond statistical understanding of rates of disability and qualify this data by exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lived reality and experiences of disability.

We have strengthened our national and global voice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have stronger representation when compared to our representations to government during the disability service reforms of the 1980s. Crucially, we have the First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) advocating on behalf of people with a disability on state and national government committees and working groups.

The Aboriginal Disability Network NSW held its state conference, Living My Way, this year. This was an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability, non-government and government stakeholder representatives to openly discuss policy issues.

Belinda Mason and the FPDN launched the photography exhibition, Unfinished Business, at the United Nations in Geneva in 2013. The exhibition was Australia’s official contribution to the United Nations 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Persons in New York.

We have identified the research gaps

We also have a better understanding of the research gaps. The Centre for Disability Research and Policy (CDRP) produced the National Audit of Disability Research, which identified many gaps in Australian research. So did a recent Research Monograph produced by researchers at the Australian National University and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

What these reviews show is that although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are one of the most researched cultural groups, scant research has been undertaken with people with a disability. These reports demonstrate that we need an affirmative action approach to improve the quality of our evidence base for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability.

imageIndigenous children will benefit from laying stronger foundations for closing the gap for people with disabilities.AAP/Tracey Nearmy

In response, the FPDN and the disability research community formalised the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Research Network. This consists of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, researchers, government representatives and advocates. The network aims:

… to develop and implement a research agenda that empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and adults with a disability, their families and communities.

The network is finalising a research agenda to set out steps that will be undertaken to identify and address research gaps. This is a significant outcome for the FPDN.

Let’s celebrate

It is easy to be overwhelmed by negative data and stories. Yet the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disability rights movement has achieved much over the past few years. Today is a time for us as a nation to celebrate our achievements as we tackle the challenges ahead.

It is not the events of today that determine our future; it is how we respond to those events. We must acknowledge that although we have a long way to go until we close the inequality gaps, we have taken many steps forward together.

image

John Gilroy is the founding chairperson of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Research Network. He is an author of the National Audit of Disability Research published in 2014 by the Centre for Disability and Research Policy (CDRP).

Nicholas Biddle is an author of the Indigenous Population Project 2011 Census Papers, Paper 6: Disability published in 2013 by the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research and of CAEPR Monograph No. 34, Indigenous Australians and the National Disability Insurance Scheme, published in 2014.

Read more http://theconversation.com/indigenous-australians-can-take-pride-in-disability-policy-gains-34011